What would you call evidence?
Perhaps the central stance of the critical/skeptical atheist for his or her lack of belief in a god is that there is no evidence for a god.
So, a major question to consider is, “What counts as evidence for God?”
I think this question to be a tough one, as the individual is forced by the constraints of a worldview to make a subjective judgment, but the very concept of evidence implies objectivity. So, here is the best answer I can personally come up with for now.
Mathematicians have, to my knowledge, a definition of what is considered impossible. Anything that is less likely than one part in 10^50 is considered unlikely enough to happen that it is considered not possible. (For a comparison, that is exactly the number of atoms estimated to be in the earth. It would take hundreds of years just to count the number of atoms one by one on the tip of a needle head.)
So, I think I would believe in a god if I was able to objectively observe that which is impossible. Such as, if scientists set up an experiment in which a particular result is deemed to be around as unlikely as 1 in every 10^50 runs, and it is recorded and observed by multiple people. That would send a pretty clear message to me I think that perhaps a deistic sort of God exists.
For any kind of specific God though, he would have to intercede with a message of his own; for example, a very clear message in any interpretable language written within the formation of stars would be a good start.
What would you consider to be adequate evidence?
the-quiet1-has-a-new-blog asked: Stop dodging the issue. You can't insult a man's god without insulting him, this should be obvious. (Motive means nothing, in this case.) And as I have dedicated my blog to showing, the belief in god in and of itself is harmless. The two points combined make criticism of theistic belief not only needless but a rather backwards action if one truly cares about a more peaceful world. (1/2)
Take care not to link truth with moral good and untrue with evil. They’re not the same, no matter how much that may simplify morals for you. (2/2)
Okay. I see what you’re saying, and if anything, my video only proved that insulting a man’s god does indeed insult them. I’ve thought about it for a bit, and I agree with you. If someone can and wants to believe in an “unie”, if that’s it, it’s kept to himself, not taught as fact, and he leads an accepting and moral lifestyle, there is little to insult about it. He should be allowed to believe in his “unie”. However, he should also recognize that he will receive criticism for it if he brings this belief into public. Just like politics, abortion, gay rights, anything else at all, even one’s face, people are subject to criticism. The difference lies in the ability of the person to recognize that it is criticism, and he shouldn’t feel insulted by criticism. Rather, he should be able to respond to the criticism and either defend his belief and maybe even criticize back. The problem theism faces then is that there is very little if anything at all for them to defend their beliefs with, they feel the need to respond to the criticism, but everything they may try falls short. Then maybe they see a message elsewhere that their god is imaginary; since they may have built a good portion of their lives around a belief in a god, that’s where they feel insulted, angry, etc.
When I post on my blog that I believe god is an imaginary being, invented by the minds of humans long ago to explain that which they could not understand, it is not an attack on any individual believer. When I have debates on campus here from time to time, I never flagrantly call what they’re trying to defend as imaginary or ludicrous. It is fully my intention though for viewers of my blog to read what I write, and whether or not they agree with me, to think. When a theist runs across my blog, my goal is to make them slow down from their Tumblr scrolling and think about what I’m saying for a bit. I want to promote skepticism and reasonable thought.
I admit though that I probably haven’t entirely held to this standard in a few of my posts. Sometimes the pressure of the stress I face at this college makes me really want to rant, and I may end up posting some things that to call “respectable” of everyone would definitely not be true. I’m not perfect, and I’m influenced quite a bit by emotions from time to time. I’ve probably posted things that would have been better left unsaid. I’m not going to run a perfect blog.
Okay, now that I’m done with that, just one last thought. I continue to have a problem with religion. Religion is doctrines added onto the human desire to believe in a god. Religion for the most part is when one defines who god is, what he thinks and wants, what happens after one dies, etc. And, usually, the religion promotes faith (the opposite of skepticism and doubt), indoctrination, and converting and adding people to the believers. In this sense, religion is primitive, enslaving of the mind, and may lead to disastrous results such as 9/11. 9/11 was when people did not reason that they have no evidence that an afterlife even exists, and they ended up killing themselves and thousands of other people because of their indoctrination and firmness of faith. That is something I will fight. I desire peace, yes, and I will not do any physical harm to anyone as much as possible, but so long as I live in a world where violence results directly through religion’s ability to hamper the mind, then no, I’m not going to respect that.
My goal is not to be an anti-theist; my goal is to be anti-violence, anti-hate, anti-faith… anti-religion. I want people to be able to think for themselves and fully love and appreciate life and the universe for what it is, and I see religion as an outstanding obstacle to this end. So, when it comes to words at least, I’m not going to be idle about it.
Zen Humanism: The Measure of All Things
“An openness to go where knowledge leads even if it contradicts cherished beliefs” is largely why I am an atheist today. Good quote.
I got this message on facebook from someone who I once knew at my old church. I didn’t know she was still my friend on facebook but I instantly unfriended her.
“We are still pleading for you. Beg your creator to have mercy on your soul.
Love? Sure whatever….
This is why Tumblr is so much better than Facebook, really.
The more I look into religion as a whole, including Christianity, and the doctrine of faith from a skeptical perspective, the more I am convinced that it really is a mental poison. It clouds the mind and gives it comfort in believing exactly what it wants to believe, apart from any evidence or reason.
The result? Messages of utter derision like this; messages that reveal the nature of the sender it seems. A nature of one who is “holier than thou” and is predestined to eternal bliss while others must beg their creator for mercy. Love? How about, instead of pleading to God that a free and beautiful mind like this returns to a cage of indoctrination, you show her love by sending her words of support, encouragement, and affirmation? Ah, but you didn’t. And that’s why you’re no longer her friend.
Imagine what the world would be like if skepticism was taught as a virtue in place of faith.
I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist
I am re-reading this book now from the vantage point of an agnostic atheist. The first time I read it, I was a Christian and its arguments brought comfort to me by providing what I thought to be an excellent argument for truth.
Right now, I am one paragraph into the Preface and have twice put the book down, stunned already at how the authors and writer of the forward cannot see the flipside of what they are saying.
“Religious skeptics believe that books like this one can’t be trusted for objective information because such books are written by religious people who have an agenda. In fact, that’s the way skeptics view the Bible — it’s a biased book written by biased people. Their assessment may be true for some books about religion, but it’s not true for them all. If it were, you couldn’t trust anything you read concerning religion — including books written by atheists or skeptics — because every writer has a viewpoint on religion.”
While I agree that it’s difficult to trust any book written by anybody for objective information, because it is written by someone with an “agenda”, some are more trustworthy than others. A book written by a knowledgeable skeptic is more trustworthy than a book written by a private Christian high school student. One of the opinions is more rounded, more informed, and more objective simply because he or she is a skeptic and is wary about truth claims. A skeptic’s agenda is one that is open-minded, fair, and ruthlessly unaccepting of poorly construed arguments.
The writers in the first paragraph already make an unfounded view that there are “black and white” ways of viewing the same thing only, and there are no grey areas. You should trust an informed skeptic’s work just as much as you should the high school student. I mean, they both have agendas, right?!
Oh, and skeptics view that the Bible is a biased book written by biased people for an informed reason. If we should be wary about what one person writes, how much more should we be wary of what 40 people write over the course of thousands of years, something that went through revision after revision, whose New Testament was selected by a council, and was historically written in a time period of much superstitious, irrational, and yes, biased and agenda-based thinking!
I think it’s going to take me a long time to read this book if I rant on and on like this after one paragraph. Lol.